18 June 2019

Interview with George Friedman: Romania should be limited in its ambitions, but it should set the goal to become an economic powerhouse

Mircea Olteanu

Romania should be limited in its ambitions because those countries that have very large ambitions get into trouble and our country’s goal should be to become an economic powerhouse, states the American analyst, dr. George Friedman, in an interview for MEDIAFAX and Defence and Security Monitor.

The founder and president of Geopolitical Futures (GPF), Friedman talked, in an interview for MEDIAFAX and Defence and Security Monitor (DSM), within the international conference “Black Sea and Balkans Security Forum”, about Romania’s challenges and opportunities, but also about the US-European countries’ relations.

Another important topic was the situation in Europe. The American analyst stated that we can no longer talk about Europe in terms of security because Europe is composed of some many fragments that each country can follow its own line.

We are presenting you the entire interview bellow:

Mediafax: What role could Romania play as a pillar of stability in Eastern Europe and also Black Sea region and as a bridge within the transatlantic alliance?

George Friedman: I think Romania should be limited in its ambitions, not because it is small or irrelevant, but those countries that have very large ambitions get into trouble. Your task now is to defend your country and build it into an economic powerhouse. You don't serve any function beyond that. If you're an economic powerhouse you will power the countries around you, the Serbs, the Hungarians, everyone. So, I think your job now for this generation is to take Romania and create an economic miracle, but it won't be a miracle, it will be a reality that you can do everything, from IT to tourism.

Mediafax: In your opinion, what about the European Union's actions toward autonomy in defence and security. Do you think that this actions pose any political risk to the transatlantic alliance?

George Friedman: Well, we had a transatlantic alliance, but now every country is going in a different direction. Portugal is going in one direction, Germany another. Our relationship is with Romania and Poland, we have old relationships with the rest of Europe, a close one to the United Kingdom. But the real question is what Europeans want and, as an American who studies this, I don't know. Certainly they don't want the same thing but, sometimes, in one country they don't want the same thing, it depends on the time of day. So, as an American, I think we should be opened to good relations with any country that is prepared to carry its load and avoid commitments to countries that don't think they need to. Romania is a special country, it is strategically located and it carries its load, so this is the country we’re interested in. The Germans will go in their direction, the Portuguese will go in their direction, but I think we should stop thinking about Europe, because Europe has so many fragments, it's hard to say what it is.

Mediafax: What is the impact of new insecurity drivers in Europe, such as Russia's actions, radical nationalism and populism, propaganda - upon the Black Sea and Balkan security future?

George Friedman: The reality is that Europe consists of many different countries and in each country plays this out differently. I mean, we need to stop using the term Europe, because that's just the continent, so it is different what happens in Italy from what happens in Romania. So far, Romania has stayed clear of many of these worse elements, these worse possibilities, a part of that is geography, partly is the presence of Americans and partly it's the common sense of Romanians. So, I would argue that you can no longer have a general view of Europe, it's not possible, but we can have a very specific view of Romania, which, I will say, is our ally and our troops are here and our ships come and that's Romania and let's not worry about the future of Italy.